England to drop quarantine requirement for arrivals from more than 50 countries

Photo: Mick Dodsworth

The UK’s Department for Transport (DfT) has announced that travellers arriving in England from more than 50 countries will no longer need to quarantine from July 10.

The move follows pressure from the transport industry which has been greatly affected by the 14-day quarantine requirement introduced last month.

Currently, most travellers arriving in the UK must self-isolate for two weeks, but the DfT has said it will publish a list of exempt countries which are deemed to pose “a reduced risk” of spreading the coronavirus. However, any travellers who have visited or transited through a country which is not on the exempt list within the preceding 14 days will still have to self-isolate upon arriving in England.

The DfT explained that the devolved administrations in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland would “set out their own approach” regarding exemptions and said travellers should comply with the relevant rules.

The Scottish and Welsh governments have not yet announced if they will follow the new regulations introduced for England while the quarantine rules are currently unchanged for people arriving in Northern Ireland from outside the UK and the Republic of Ireland.

The Transport Secretary, Grant Shapps, told the BBC’s Breakfast programme that the 50+ countries would be listed as having either amber or green status to match their prevalence of coronavirus.

He said all amber countries, including France, Germany, Italy, and Spain – will have “reciprocal arrangements” in place, so people arriving from the UK will not have to quarantine upon arriving in those countries. However, he explained that countries in the green category, which are deemed to have “very low” levels of the coronavirus, will have restrictions for travellers arriving from the UK. He named New Zealand as a good example of countries in the green category and said: “They do have restrictions when you arrive, but we thought it was right to include them [on the list of exempt countries] because people may want to come here from New Zealand, and that’s no particular threat to our hard-won gains that everyone’s been going through, staying at home.”